The $850 million Flushing Commons and Macedonia Plaza project that will transform a 5.5-acre, municipal parking lot into a mixed-use urban center in Flushing, Queens has now been approved by the New York City Council after years of planning and negotiating.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Council Speaker, Christine C. Quinn and Council Member, Peter Koo on Thursday in expressing their support of the project that will create approximately 2,600 construction jobs and 1,900 permanent jobs and have a projected annual economic output of $720 million.

“Flushing is one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods not just in New York City but in the world, and today marks a major milestone in our efforts to build on that vibrancy and position Flushing for long-term economic growth,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The approval of the Flushing Commons and Macedonia Plaza projects is the culmination of a multi-year community-based planning effort,” added the mayor.

Thanks to a private investment, Flushing Commons will result in a 1.5-acre town square with a fountain plaza, 1,600 parking spaces, a 62,000-sq-ft, state-of-the-art YMCA, 36,000 sq ft of community space, up to 275,000 sq ft of retail space and up to 234,000 sq ft of office and/or hotel space. In addition, Macedonia Plaza will result in 140-units of affordable housing built on a 30,140-sq-ft portion of the municipal parking lot as well as 7,292 sq ft of ground floor retail, 5,828 sq ft of community space and 18,834 sq ft of open public space.

Even though a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure has already taken place and been approved, Mayor Bloomberg along with the project’s stakeholders and local elected officials have developed a Flushing Small Business Assistance Plan in order to help alleviate any challenges that come about during the construction process. The plan will also support the continued growth of local businesses that are being given a $6 million assistance package for their protection.

The project is a joint venture of Rockefeller Group Development of New York, TDC Development Corporation, a local Flushing developer, Architect, Perkins Eastman, also of New York and was selected as a result of a Request for Proposals issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, based on recommendations made by the Development Framework for Downtown Flushing.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011 with occupancy planned for 2013.

 -Carolina Worrell